DragonFly MBR

Jonas Sundström jonas at kirilla.se
Fri Mar 10 14:23:33 PST 2006

Sascha Wildner <saw at xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Due to cramped space it's not easily possible to 
> assign more descriptive texts for the menu choices
> based on the sysid.
> It would be nice to have some better descriptions
> for people that like to multi-boot (like me).

It seems hard to find place in the MBR for all filesystem id:s, 
let alone filesystem-specific code, unless you spill over into
a partition, like GRUB does. In my mind it's much cleaner to
let the MBR be a simple chainloader, delegating to the boot
records of the partitions. 

Letting the user name the boot options sidesteps the issue of 
filesystem id:s. I doubt that most people change their partition
layout all that often, and those who do probably know that 
they may need to update their MBR boot menu to reflect 
the changes. 

I don't think the drawbacks matter a whole lot, 
unless you swap drives around a lot, in which case
you may prefer a more dynamic boot menu. 

For a simple, clean version check out BeOS.
(I tried googling for a screenshot, but I can't find
any of the actual menu itself. It simply shows 
the possible partition names centered on screen,
in a vertical list, each name having a different color,
out of the glorious few possible, letting you highlight
the one you want using the arrow keys, pressing 
enter to boot into it.)

I'm not much of a BSD user, so perhaps I'm not seeing a 
possible conflict with the way BSD works with slices
and (sub-)partitions. Is the slice's boot record respected?

/Jonas Sundström.              www.kirilla.com

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